The El Niño phenomenon: What is it, and how can it affect the rainforest?

08 January 2018 (1993 visits)

When water temperatures in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific, off the coast of Peru, are higher than usual, weather patterns around the world are affected. This phenomenon occurs erratically –every two to seven years- and during periods when ocean temperatures are particularly high the effects throughout the world can be alarming. 

The El Niño warm ocean current gets its name from the time of year when it is usually first detected. It was the fishermen of the Peruvian town of Paita who in the 17th century first noticed that on occasion sea temperatures would rise and fish stocks disappear around Christmastime, when the birth of the Christ Child (“El Niño”) is celebrated by Christians.

During late 2015, unusually high winter temperatures directly attributable to the El Niño effect led to record levels of rainfall in Scotland and northern England, causing serious flooding and the evacuation of residents from more than 5000 homes.

The effects in the Entre Rios, Corrientes and Chaco frontier regions of Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Uruguay were even more devastating. Here, more than 150,000 people were displaced by flooding as heavy summer rains caused major rivers to burst their banks.

But the periodic disturbances caused by El Niño to the world’s ocean currents and therefore to its overall weather patterns can also lead to reduced rainfall in some areas, and even drought. Some historians have even linked the El Niño related severe droughts in Asia, Australia, Mexico, southern Africa and other parts of the world with the famine that contributed to the French Revolution in 1789.

In Peru, while heavy rains can be expected on the country’s normally arid desert coast during an El Niño year, causing damage to infrastructure and leading to crop failure, in the highland and tropical forest regions precipitation during what is normally the rainy season, from December to March, can often be reduced.


During the particularly severe El Niño phenomenon of 1998, the Amazon basin was hit by drought, with wildlife sightings around oxbow lakes and other water sources, including the Tambopata river basin, reported as much higher than usual, as animals emerged from the forests in search of water.

Click on image to enlarge:


Weather -

Check out the itineraries we offer:

rainforest EXPERIENCE

3 days (USD 494.00)

rainforest EXPLORER

4 days (USD 677.00)

rainforest ENCOUNTER

4 days (USD 761.00)

rainforest ADVENTURE

4 days (USD 932.00)

rainforest JOURNEY

4 days (USD 1148.00)

rainforest EXPEDITION

5 days (USD 1370.00)

What your rainforest visit means

In Peru ecotourism has helped make it possible to create national reserves and save the forests of the Amazon basin from destruction. By implementing our ecotourism-based conservation model (see our video), we are ensuring the forests will be around for future generations to appreciate. Pioneering projects like Tambopata Ecolodge, which was established in 1991, serve as a conservation model, by showing how responsible ecotourism can support conservation initiatives.
neuro(drive).pro() /
Enjoy an upgrade to SUITE for the cost of a SUPERIOR room. This offer is subject to availability. To take advantage of this offer, click here and fill out the form, indicating your selected dates, and requesting this promotional offer.
Enjoy 25% off any room type, available for the Rainforest Experience or Rainforest Encounter programs. To take advantage of this offer, click on the program you’re interested in, enter your dates, and select the room type available, number of people, and the other options. The discount will be applied to the rates automatically.
The comfort of our guests is our priority; we do not operate camping itineraries from November 1st to March 31st.